The Rest We Need by Ashley Salem
There is so much going on in the world right now. There's a lot of hurt, judgement, misrepresentation, and busyness. In all of the hustle and bustle this season, I was reminded that busyness does not equate to productivity.
I am a firm believer that everyone has a purpose and that one’s purpose is tied to operating in their gifts, talents, skills and abilities. If we continue to allow ourselves to be busy with stuff, we will not be able to work toward our purpose, which means, we will not be able to operate in our gifts.
What has been put on my heart recently is to allow myself rest. To make myself rest. To cease from doing busy work, and do the actual work that I was called to do. My parents, my spiritual father and mother, my brother, my friends, my school, my mentors, the radio, blogs, and speakers. I have allowed to pour into me. My hurt, my lessons, joy, and triumphs have all given me, perspective.
Rest can mean a lot of things to different people. In music compositions, a composer will insert a rest symbol in a place where the song needs a pause. A rest is an intentional pause. When placed precisely, almost unnoticed, the rest organizes the other notes. Which allows the other notes to stand on their own instead of falling all over each other, and provides space for the musician, to breathe.
The obstacle with rest is that it sounds good but, like many of you, I have competing priorities that I care a great deal about. By the time you get off work, juggle outside commitments, am present for my family and friends, and serve as a liaison in other capacities; it is very likely that you too, end up burning the candle on both sides. Then, at the end of the day, we are left with scraps of time, money and resources to recoup for ourselves. But I decree and declare that old cultural meta-cognitions are no longer serving me, and I reject them, and instead choose a new way of thinking that embraces rest.
There is no way that I can be present for my family and friends, while trying to learn and grow as a person in a sustainable way, if I am not pursuing the course to operate at my best.
During a recent Power Hour, which is held by NOISE every Saturday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm at The Study (2205 N 24th St.), I had a chance to overhear truth-speaker Loretta Woerman, who hosted a workshop called Conquer The Darkness focused on helping deal with grief, loss, and trauma.
As I worked in the other room I couldn't help but overhear how she poured into the women and men in attendance. It made my heart smile. Toward the end, some of the participants chose to share what was on their mind. They spoke candidly and I respected their bravery as the whole building was filled with hope. After such an t session I was compelled to speak with Loretta about rest.
Her skin glowed as she told me of how often people will ask her what she's going to do over her weekend. Her response is that she is going to do as little as possible. " We all must understand that we don't have to fill our day with everything, just for it to be meaningful."she also provided crystals, notebooks for journaling, and reference material for her attendees.
Tiffany White-Welchen, LMHP, LPC, NCC is the Senior Director of Behavioral Health Services at Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. I spoke to her and, asked if she would shed some light on the importance of rest from her professional opinion. She went on to provide her thoughts with a jovial smile.
What does rest mean to you, and how do you see it in relationship to yourself and your clients?
"Rest is being mindful. Before you go into a stressful situation remember, you are resilient even when things are tough. Struggles are what defines us. Builds our resiliency. No matter if you have been raped, foster care...no one of these things defines you," she said.
When asked about work/life balance, she suggests to always strive for it. Although there is no specific recipe, self care is important. Being able to care for yourself, exercise and prayer or meditation will all be beneficial. "Life is a whiteboard, you can only hold so much on your whiteboard. People come and put their demands on your board. But you have a choice. You can erase what you want. Walk in your light," said White-Welchen.
Here are 5 actions you can take to reset and invite more rest into your life. These are steps I use. Some days I can get only a few, others days, I have my self care on lock and exceed my own expectations.
1. Kiss the pillow when you wake up. Although this creates a funny visual, its intent is focused on gratitude. Kissing the pillow symbolizes being thankful for a roof over your head, being thankful for waking up in the morning, and welcoming the day with sweetness.
2. Affirmations in the mornings. Your words hold power, and speaking over your life is very important. Affirmations can be anything you need them to be. They can be words that remind you of what you've been through, and came out of. Or, they can be words that represent what you want to see in your present and future. If you find it hard to come up with something, just think to yourself, what would Kanye say to Kanye.
3. Don’t snooze the alarm. This one is hard, I know. Some days I admit to falling short of it myself. But, if we can rise each day with great expectation, ready to tackle the day and be blessed by it, then this will set a positive intention for our day. If we greet the day with snoozing the alarm over and over again and grunting and complaining about having to get up, we greet our morning with resistance.
4. Keep a tidy living space. If you are running late or have a change of plans, it becomes easier to make last minute adjustments if you know exactly where your favorite pair of shoes are. This will save you time and mental space.
5. Declutter and debulk. o through your closets, your kids toys, and your whole home. Evaluate each item and see if it really deserves a place in your life. Also do this in every relationship in your life. Don't confuse stuff for substance. By living below your means, you will have more money to spend on things that matter in your life. You will also have more money to save.
Hopefully these will aid in your own self care practices. They have helped me tremendously. So that way, when I hug my mother, study what’s on my heart, laugh with my friends, serve at my place of worship, work for my employer; I am able to come from a place of availability, and not purely from a place of pulling from reserve. I can choose what is on my whiteboard. I can expand myself and retract, as I see fit. Meditate, and yes, drink some tea at the beginning of the day. Ready, whole, loved and rested.